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PickNik Robotics and Optimax Systems have released a ROS 2 driver for ABB manipulators. The package has been tested with an ABB IRB 1200-5/0.9 manipulator. The developers said “porting new robot models should be a straightforward process, and we welcome pull requests.”
The new ABB package allows two modes of simulation. In the first mode, it can spoof ros2_control drivers for simulation in ROS. Alternatively, the driver can communicate with ABB’s proprietary RobotStudio software, a simulation environment that enables a wide range of ABB-specific add-ons.
Compared to the ROS 1 ABB packages, the PickNik and Optimax said the advantages of this ROS 2 version include:
- Improved security
- More flexibility with respect to middleware configuration
- All necessary packages and documentation are available in a single repository
Installation and instructions can be found here.
Optimax, a prototype optics manufacturer in the United States, will use the new ABB package for precision manufacturing.
PickNik’s team of 30+ roboticists are leaders in the open-source robotics community and collectively have more than 300 years of robotics experience. This is the second major robot driver for ROS 2 PickNik has helped release. In May 2022, a ROS 2 driver was released for Universal Robots’ collaborative robotic arms.
ABB recently launched a robotic depalletizing solution designed for handling complex depalletizing tasks in the logistics, e-commerce, healthcare, and consumer packaged goods industries. The solution combines an ABB industrial robotic arm with vision guidance and a new, custom gripper design. The solution is optimized for mixed load pallets with a variety of box sizes and types.
ABB expanded its robotics portfolio in 2021 with by acquiring ASTI Mobile Robotics, a developer of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for $190 million. The acquisition expanded ABB’s product family into AMRs and beyond industrial and collaborative robot arms. At the time of the acquisition, ASTI solutions were selling at a revenue of $50M per year with a 30% annual growth rate.